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Jul 1, 2010 08:57 AM

My brother is on a trip to France, Hungary, Poland, and Serbia. What should I ask for?

Are there any non-perishable, easy to pack items that I should ask him to bring me back?

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  1. I'd ask for a bottle of real Champagne (I'm not sure how easy that would be to pack, but I'd imagine it's possible!), honey from La Campanella, and any and all candies from A l'Etoile d'Or,

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jadore

      I googled La Campanella and could not find any information. Is this a region? A brand name? Tell me more, please! And A l'Etoile d'Or sounds incredible. Henry le Roux caramels please! =)

      1. re: operagirl

        La Campanella is a shop that carries a lot of Italian goods, actually, but the honey they sell there gets rave reviews from every blog and site I read. The Brittany honey, in particular, is regarded as excellent. Molly of Orangette, for example, mentioned them and gave the address to the store in one of her posts:

        La Campanella
        36 bis rue de Dunkerque; 10th arrondissement
        M├ętro: Gare du Nord

    2. Depending where YOU are, you might wanna think about chocolate.

      1 Reply
      1. re: gordeaux

        I am in the San Francisco Bay Area -- we have lots of good chocolate hear and I'm worried it might melt in his suitcase.

      2. Might well find some great dried mushrooms there. (And they're not heavy!)

        6 Replies
        1. re: Bada Bing

          Ohhh yes, dried mushrooms are a must!

          1. re: Bada Bing

            Any specific type of dried mushroom that you'd recommend?

            1. re: operagirl

              Porcini and Chanterelle varieties would top many peoples' lists. I think that Porcini mushrooms, in particular, are one of the world's greatest food ingredients. They are graded according to the average size of the dried slices, with bigger slices costing more.

              Note that porcini is the Italian name that we tend to use in the USA, but the mushroom goes by various names in various countries, often incorporating that language's word for "King" or some such, because it is very prized anywhere it's found. It is cep or cepe in France and some other places. Mushroom gathering is a real passion for many people in Poland, by the way. Wikipedia tells that in Poland it's called "prawdziwek ("true mushroom").

              While the porcini is pretty much king of the world with mushrooms, you might find, as with things like cheese and bread, that Europe has a greater variety than we do in the USA, where foodie culture is still pretty young. Ironically, mushroom culture doesn't just spring up quickly out of nothing!

              1. re: Bada Bing

                Thank you for the tips -- interesting that porcinis are prized in so many European food cultures! It is easy to think that we've got it made here in the SF Bay Area -- ethnic grocery stores and restaurants abound. But there is much to be learned about food from traveling, it seems. I've only been out of the country three times -- to Mexico, Israel, and Brazil. I think I need to travel more before my 20s have passed me by!

              2. re: operagirl

                My first choice would be morels (morchel in German).

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. Depends on which is his last stop. You don't want him to carry a bottle of champaign all the way through eastern Europe do you?

                1 Reply
                1. re: PeterL

                  Haha, no, that would not be very practical. He is in Paris right now -- heading to the other countries in the order I posted them. I am trying not to ask for anything particularly breakable, heavy, or obnoxious to pack.